C/2007 N3 Lulin

Closest to Sun on 10 Jan 2009 at 1.21AU
Closest to Earth on 24 Feb 2009 at 0.41AU
Maximum magnitude 4.9 in Feb 2009
Orbital period = 43,387 years


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 25.50UT.
5x2 minute exposures, Canon 300D digital camera, 300mm zoom lens.

Comet Lulin was discovered by Quanzhi Ye from Lulin observatory on July 11, 2007. (see note at bottom of page)
It was observable with the unaided eye from dark sky locations during mid to late Feb 2009.
It peaked at magnitude 5.0 when well situated for viewing during evening hours from both hemispheres.
The comet was inclined at 178 degrees to the ecliptic, meaning that the orbit was retrograde
and virtually in the same orbital plane as the ecliptic, thus was observable edge-on throughout the apparition.
The dust tail appeared as a short, narrow, spike-like appendage through binoculars and telescopes.
The fainter ion tail initially pointed westwards, in the opposite direction to the dust tail,
then as the comet passed through opposition on February 25th, the ion tail switched over to the East, in line with the dust tail.
Compare photos below of the comet from Feb 21 to 25.

During January 2009 the comet could be found in in Libra, in the morning sky, brightening from magnitude 7 to 6.


2009 Jan 24.75UT.
3 minute exposure, Canon 300D digital camera. 300mm zoom lens, cropped image. ISO 800.
digital development processed to reveal coma and nucleus.
Visual magnitude 6.7

During February 2009, the comet traversed the constellations of Libra, Virgo and Leo, brightening from magnitude 6 to 5.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 21.57 UT
15x1 minute exposure. 135mm Hanimex lens at f8, MX7c CCD imager. FOV 2.5 degrees wide. south at top.
The ion tail is faintly visible to the lower left of the comet whilst the dust tail stretches 1.6 degrees to the top right of the image.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 21.57 UT
5x2 minute exposures, Canon 300D digital camera, 300mm zoom lens.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 21.57 UT
5 minute exposure, Canon 300D digital camera. 90mm zoom lens, cropped image. ISO 800.
showing the position of the comet in relation to Beta and Eta Virginis.

 

C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 25.50UT.
40x10 second exposures, Starlight Express MX7c imager + C11 at f/3.3.
Stacked on the comets nucleus. Larson Sekania filter processing to bring out detail in the dust jets emanating from the nucleus.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 25.50UT.
15x1 minute exposure. 135mm Hanimex lens at f8, MX7c CCD imager. FOV 2.5 degrees wide. south at top. The dust tail stretches 2 degrees.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Feb 25.50UT.
2x3minute exposures, Canon 300D digital camera.90mm zoom lens, cropped image. ISO 800.
Note Saturn in the field at far right. FOV 10 degrees wide.

During March 2009, the comet traversed the constellations of Cancer and Gemini, fading from magnitude 5 to 8.


C/2007 N3 Lulin on 2009 Mar 27.50UT.

Below is my personal light curve of C/2007 N3 Lulin (brown) verses MPC prediction (red)
The calculated magnitude parameters were H0=5.5 and n=3.9
and the comet performed better than expected by 1 order of magnitude.

Below are my observations in ICQ format

2007N3 2008 07 04.54 S 12.0 TK 20.0L 6 57 1 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2008 09 17.42 S 10.0 TK 10.0B 25 4 3 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2008 10 16.47 S 9.3 TK 10.0B 25 5 3 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2008 10 22.47 S 9.0 TK 10.0B 25 5 3 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2008 10 27.47 S 9.0 TK 10.0B 25 5 3 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 24.71 S 6.7 TK 5 B 10 6 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 25.71 S 6.7 TK 5 B 10 6 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 26.71 S 6.7 TK 5 B 10 6 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 28.71 S 6.5 TK 5 B 10 6 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 29.71 S 6.5 TK 5 B 10 7 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 30.71 S 6.4 TK 5 B 10 7 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 01 31.71 S 6.4 TK 5 B 10 7 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 01.73 S 6.3 TK 5 B 10 7 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 02.73 S 6.3 TK 10 B 25 7 5 20m 285 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 03.73 S 6.2 TK 5 B 10 8 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 04.67 S 6.1 TK 5 B 10 9 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 20.52 S 5.0 TK 5 B 10 20 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 21.54 S 4.9 TK 5 B 10 18 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 21.54 S 4.9 TK 10 B 25 20 5 30m 112 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 21.54 S 5.0 TK 0.7E 1 20 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 23.62 S 4.9 TK 5 B 10 20 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 23.62 S 5.1 TK 0.7E 1 20 5 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 02 28.46 S 5.2 TK 5 B 10 20 5 1.0 110 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 03 15.42 S 7.0 TK 5 B 10 10 4 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 03 17.44 S 7.2 TK 5 B 10 8 4 ICQ nn MAT08
2007N3 2009 03 23.42 S 7.8 TK 10 B 25 6 3 ICQ nn MAT08


2007N3 090124.71 In 25x100mm B, bright disk shaped coma, no stellar nucleus visible. [MAT08]
2007N3 090202.73 Hint of antitail in PA110 [MAT08]
2007N3 090221.54 starlike cental condensation visible. CCD image displays tail 1.7 degrees in PA 112. [MAT08]

The discoverer Quanzhi Yeh (left) visited me in Australia 2009.